Move aside, Donald Trump. This year the award for Person of the Year goes to a much more deserving group.
Time magazine announced on the ‘Today’ show this morning that the lauded accolade is to be given to ‘The Silence Breakers’; the group of women behind several empowering movements for women – including #MeToo, which has swept social media over the past few months.
“This is the fastest moving social change we’ve seen in decades and it began with individual acts of courage by hundreds of women – and some men too – who came forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault,” Edward Felsenthal, the magazine’s editor-in-chief said on the programme.
Former ‘Charmed’ actress Alyssa Milano issued a call to arms on social media, urging women to speak up about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. She asked women to reply to her tweet and Instagram post by replying ‘me too.’ Alternatively, women could post the same response on Facebook.
“If all the women who have ever been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, then we give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” she wrote, explaining she got the idea from a friend.
The hashtag was tweeted almost a million times in 48 hours.
The #MeToo movement was founded by activist Tarana Burke on Twitter a decade ago, to raise awareness about sexual violence. Burke, along with Milano, appeared on the Today show to help break the news.
I’m honored to be a part of the Time Person Year issue with @TaranaBurke. This is for every woman who came forward. This is for every woman who was brave enough to say #MeToo. I hear you. I stand with you. I see you. I am you. #BreakTheSilence pic.twitter.com/MRSSKKPWeu
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) December 6, 2017
The issue’s cover stars a host of women who have been instrumental in the movement, including two celebs: Taylor Swift, who won a civil case against an ex-DJ who groped her, and actress Ashley Judd.
Judd (pictured back, second from left) was among the first actresses to break the silence surrounding Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour around women.
They are shown alongside a number of others who are just – if not more – significant.
Adama Iwu (pictured front), head of government relations in the western states for Visa, started the We Said Enough movement to call out the “pervasive culture of sexual harassment and mistreatment” in Californian politics.
She was inspired to expose the trend after an unpleasant encounter with a man at a work event. When she told friends, and heard their stories, she knew she had to act. She started by writing a letter, which was signed by more than 140 female lawmakers, lobbyists and legislative staffers, and has triggered a formal investigation.
Susan Fowler (pictured back, third from left), wrote a blog post in February about all the ridiculous sexism and harassment she encountered during her time at Uber. The post inspired many other women in the tech industry to come forward, and resulted in a major overhaul at Uber – including the resignation of co-founder Travis Kalanick as Uber’s CEO.
Also featured is Isabel Pascual (not her real name), a 42-year-old strawberry picker from Mexico who defied threats of violence from her boss and took part in a farmworkers march against sexual harrassment endured by labourers.
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